Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby-Led Weaning

I recently read the book, Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I enjoyed reading their ideas on getting your baby to eat solid food. With Avalyn, our first kiddo, I made all her purees and we were pretty cautious on what we gave her to eat. We did the typical starting on rice cereal and then moved on to bland foods and gradually added more flavor and sweet fruits too. We didn't really know there was another way  nor did we really do a whole lot of research. With Harper, our second kiddo, who is almost 6 months now I happened to read a blog post about letting your baby eat more of what you are eating and I was quite intrigued. I started doing a little bit of research and was led to this book.
The basic idea is that purees really teach your baby how to swallow, not how to eat. Letting your baby eat whole foods that are cut into finger sized pieces if necessary will help teach your baby how to chew and feed themselves from the beginning of their solid food experience. I think this is such a great idea. We were still in the habit of cutting all of Avalyn's food into tiny bite-sized pieces at every meal and it never fails, she stuffs a whole handful of tiny bite-sized pieces into her mouth at once and many times starts gagging or has to spit it out (lots of fun at mealtime at our house).
After reading this book we started giving her more strips of food instead of the little pieces and after a few days of trying this she is getting much better at handling a large piece of food and taking bites on her own. We feel much more comfortable with letting her manage her food by herself now. She didn't really understand the concept of taking one bite at a time before and now we feel like she is starting to understand that.
I understand why the authors chose the title but I think the book may miss some of its target audience because it has weaning in the title, perhaps a more appropriate title would have been Baby-Led Solids.
We will be starting Harper on solids in the next few weeks and are really looking forward to letting her experience food the same way that we do and not steamed, bland, mushy purees.
I highly recommend this book if you are looking at starting your baby on solids soon or just care about what you feed your kids.
You can also check out their website if you like and they have a forum too.

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